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tv   Listening Post  Al Jazeera  March 28, 2016 3:30am-4:01am EDT

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lots more news for you whenever you want it, do check it out it's always there on our website aljazeera.com. you can talk to everyone on our program teams via facebook and 30 as well. or you can tweet me and i'll tweet you back. [ ♪ ] hello. i'm richard gizbert and you're at the listening post. it's paris all over again in brussels, both in the details of
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the story and in the nature of the coverage. journalism on trial in morocco wherefor all the promises of pre-domestic of expression-- freedom of expression, the red lines remain. twitter turns 10 years old. what took place in brussels this past tuesday, the bombings that killed 31 people and wounded hundreds more was one of those mega stories that promoted coverage beyond the incident itself. lots of talking head about state securities. delving into the issue of immigration as well as the refugees from syria. one american channel used brussels as a way into the debate because there is one in the u.s. over torture. that's what happens when a story is big enough. it travels and such stories can also reveal much about the news organizations that cover them. things like news hierarchys, the extent and limits of cultural standards.
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not that we haven't seen that before. bombings in paris happened four months ago . our starting point is brussels this is the new normal now in europe. today is showing how difficult it is to protect soft targets. >> brussels believes it is the 9/11 not all news stories are created equal and no two stories are covered equally. what does it say about the news industry and the english media see the world. two simple web searches of two similar stories, the attacks in brussels killing 3 is people and a car bomb in ankara ten days before that killed 37. they would yield such dissimilar results >> it is pretty indisputable that there is a hierarchy in
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terms of, shall we say, western media coverage of these attacks. it's fair to say there was no coverage of the attacks in baghdad or in turkey, but the volume and the tone and the urgency of the coverage was nowhere near what it has been since the brussels attacks. >> when you put that to what happened in beirut or baghdad or istanbul and then here in brussels, it is another world. the first time in istanbul it was a huge thing. weep sent a special correspondent. the second we hesitate and the third one we don't think about it. so then brussels. that is different. that is coverage day and night all the time >> the volume of coverage is not even on the same scale. it is actually called special coverage on n.b.c. they have special music that goes with it, they create a graphic that goes about belgium attacks. that's what we lose with the
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coverage of attacks in other parts of the world outside of the west. we think how many were killed, give me a number. that's it. there is a kind of really in-depth empathy stories as big as this one have a habit of spreading beyond borders and bleeding into other areas of debate. journalists have delved into security angles, some of which are related and some not. as the new york times but it, it did not take long. almost as soon as the bombs went off in brussels came the bitter debate about the influx of migrants from the middle east and north after. even though the two suicide bombers were neither refugees nor immigrants to belgium. they were born there. >> when there ask terror attacks, the obvious agenda which comes on the table is about security. there are some extreme right wing politicians in europe copying what happened.
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they're pleading for a kind of patriot act. >> an interview. >> i think after the attacks in brussels, that the responsibilities of media, not only media, also politics, is remnants of not spending on the tough security discourse, but those who are society discourse >> some things that i saw in the media was an image of a young boy is at the greek border hoping to get into europe, fleeing war, seeking asylum along with his parents. this boy is holding a sign saying, sorry for brussels. for me this is a striking example of how those far tiffs that we see- shall-- narratives that we see, adjust the imagination of those in vulnerable situations who feel they have to respond to those narratives which equate terrorism with refugees
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this is a special edition of today, terror in brussels if turning the story of the attacks to one about pill aggravation policy with a form of hijacking the news for purposes that political, then what n.b.c. news in the u.s. did took that to another level >> donald trump joins us now the network's morning program transformed belgium's tragedy into a debate about torture in the u.s. >> what would you say would be appropriate in terms of what they can do to him at this moment to get any information they can? and treated that question as some kind of litmus test for house. >> when i watched the n.b.c. interview, the way that the anchors seem emmed to be trying to push answers out of the politician at the time, they wanted to hear the word torture, and the way that they pressed and pressed >> when you say do whatever they have to do, can you be specific. ?
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>> what are you going to do, trump? it was kind of like a dare. donald trump answered in a vague way but that wasn't good enough for the reporters. they wanted some kind of - they wanted blood >> are you in the camp that hash interrogation, let's use the word torture, works in a case like this >> there's no attempt by n.b.c. or anybody really to say, well, isn't that sort of bihar fighting that you're advocating for torturing people? >> torture is not effective. it does put soldiers and increasingly armed civilians at risk >> hillary clinton said don't water board people. it won't lead to any intelligence gathering success. so the media is operating within this political context in which torture is, if it's objectionable at all, it is objectionable because it was ineffective. so this whole conversation was appearing inside this larger moral vacuum
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however, one of the over riding themes of the coverage of brussels was despite all those breaking news banners, how familiar it all felt after paris. that fatigue was expressed in various ways on line, messages that were aimed at those responsible for killings but also could apply to the news organizations entrusted with reporting the story. >> the media are more and more taking the play position of setting an agenda. so what does it mean to have the belgian people, having a face and a voice while we can never see the face and the voice and the sorrow of people of turkey and other people of istanbul, and what are the audiences expected to do with these very different presentations >> we've been trapped in a lot of these narratives for a very long time now, and it's clearly gotten us nowhere. we govern notten nowhere in terms of our safety, it ha
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gotten us nowhere in terms of the way that our interact with each other, in terms of creating a more peaceful planet and a more harmonious society, and so i would hope that these media outlets would start to really reflect on the kind of coverage that we need as opposed to the kind of coverage that we're getting.
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other media stories that are on our radar this week. when russian reporters get killed on the job, few of those end up in court unless they're killed in ukraine unless one is involved is ukrainian. correspondent here sound sneer of the kremlin owned vgt channel were killed in a mortar attack
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in eastern ukraine. their cameraman captured the attack on video and survived. this past week a russian court convicted a ukraineian national who was serving in a voluntary group at the time of accepting the group to a chap. she was taken into russian and drich by political hatred. in the russian news media she was portrayed as a rutdzless killer in parts of ukraine she has become a national hero. depending on where you get your information she is either a victim of the fog of war or justice has been served. it looks like there is a punch newspaper. an analyst there says it appears to be political. several senior journalists have left the daily nation including the former editor who was fired in january after writing an end of year editorial directed at
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the president, headlined. that followed the firing you of one of the best known cartoonis cartoonist. his contract was not renewed because of pressure that came from the top. with a circulation of 170,000 and a website that gets an estimated 3 million hits a day, the daily nation is one of the most influential newspapers. it is published by the media group which is owned by a british businessman. he has multiple business interests in kenya, including hospitals, hotels and banks. analysts there say the paper is going soft on the government and getting rid of critical staff ahead of next year's elections to protect its owner's commercial standing in the country. there was no response given. the daily newspaper, one of the biggest tools in beijing's arsenal has warned that chinese people of the perils of social
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media while one of the biggest magnates was in the country. he wrote: the editorial came two days after facebook founder who was in beijing for the china development forum, met with the country's propaganda chief to discuss the future of inteet development. facebook has been banned in china ever since 209 but the owner has been on a mission to find a way into the market. there was no mention of that in his posts. he looked like any other tourist inrp enjoying-- enjoying the sites. how do you update your facebook in china. this past week in more oak object owe - shall morocco seven
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journalists were slated to go to court. their trials were adjourned. charges were such as testing the integrity of the country. a few weeks ago the minister of communication held a news conference boasting about media freedom in the country. this is happening more than five years after the arab spring which was born in north africa. the king managed to quell the protests by promising reforms and delivering a new constitution which guaranteed, among other things, freedom of expression. morocco does have media laws that protect certain freedoms. however, the wording of those laws is so vague the possibility interpretations are so broad that any reporting that crosses the line by offending the king, his officials, raising national security questions or the status of western sahara can land reporters in trouble.
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our correspondent on the journalistic red line, the red ink on the balance sheet none of which bode well for the future of journalism in morocco. >> reporter: editorial red line. moroccan journalists call them rehhuge. they emanate from the capital in seat of the royal family. any output that is seen as insulting to the king, his family or members of his government is punishable by up to five years in jail. those are not the only punishable media offences. >> translation: in my opinion, there are other red lines that the authorities care about. the first is the issue of western sahara. the authorities and separatists in the region are locked in a tug of war over the disputed territory. the issues currently being
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discussed in the united nations. some journalists attempt to question the country's position because they think this is necessary to show the other side's opinion, but the government considers this to be provocative. the second issue is with regards to terrorism. the 2003 terrorism law is exceptional in that it stipulates mass media must not take part into the discussion relating to these issues. >> translation: the government's aim is to terrorize journalists and to reiterate the famous red lives that we've been talking about for 20 years now. they continue to found hound journalists under the same pretext. this has always been the case but is more common nowadays. >> reporter: this man is the pft association of investigative journalism. he and his colleague along with five others were set to go on trial this mast week on charges
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of threatening state security and failing to report the foreign funding of their journalism project. the trial has been postponed. it will be the second trial for him in just over a year. he was arrested in march 2015 while working on a report about online surveillance and incidenced to 10-- sfnsed for 10 months in prison for adultry. according to him, fabricating charges against journalists has become the way of the moroccan authority. >> translation: this file is full of cases conjured up by the authorities to pressurize independent journalists because they've chosen to express their opinions freely. there are hundreds of pages showing i've allegedly threatened national can security and kritd crimes. -- committed crimes
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>> reporter: another trial was postponed, editor in chief. he will be back in court on april 5. this time charged with threatening territorial integrity. he has been in and out of jail since 2013, questioned about every aspect of his work, most recently an interview claiming occupied territory. they say it was a mistranslation that was corrected, but the court days goes on. >> translation: we gave our support to the news because we believe solidarity with journalists is necessary. we should consider why the authorities are twisting the muslim this way. other magazines and papers have written about this topic without getting into trouble and because they approach it with historical context. you need to strike the right balance.
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>> translation: all these cases against journalist are related to defamation or lible. they're not related to any red lines but to rules agreed upon in the u.n.-mandated initially covenant of social and political rights which states that it is possible to restrict freedom of the press in cases that affect other people's lives, in matters of national security, public order, public health or moral health. >> reporter: over the years the moroccan media has see sawed between relative freedom and tight restrictions. in 2011 as uprisings ee runned across the arab world, the king sought to keep the calm with a revamped constitution, the promise amongst other things, freedom of expression and a variety of media protections. whether the king really wanted reform or was just trying to avoid being swept up in the arab spring remains
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an open question. >> translation: we noticed through 2011, 2012 and parts of 2013 freedom of media increased. only on social media networks like twitter and facebook, burr also in printed and digital journalism. from the beginning of 2013 the situation for the media here regressed. >> translation: the minister of communication has a very different view. >> reporter: every year the minister hosts the press conference in which he outlines the progress his department has made. we spoke to him straight after the event. he was at pains to defend the government's record oppress freedom and referred to the press code which has been promised for 12 years now, but still hasn't made it past draft form. >> translation: the draft press code has formed the framework, reinforcing freedom of speech, establishing media protections
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and providing the social and political conditions necessary for the free practice of the journalism. the government's record in the field of the freedom of the press is honorable and promising. also not one newspaper was confiscated, not one website was seize and not one journalist was imprisoned by the court of appeals. >> reporter: this man likes to talk about last year, but is less forthcoming about the way this year has begun with all those journalists on trial. then there's the money. new media investment rules in morocco do not permit any foreign financing, and at the same time domestic advertising fund are largely controlled by the government. which makes survival a real challenge for outlets like this that regularly pushes the editorial limit. launched last september the site has already published stories about the king's secretary
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hiring a pr firm to polish his image. a scandal at one of the country's leading banks and the failure of the department's agriculture initiative. >> translation: economic asphyxiation is a powerful weapon but is being used by the regime to eliminate and destroy papers. today in an environment of extreme fragility, one has to be very courageous to public articles that might turn investors away. we here are in a unique situation. i don't think anyone here has tried to do what we're doing, which is a pay wall, an economic model based essentially on subscriptions. we've been on line for three months and are in a trial run. >> reporter: five years on from the uprising that sparked the king's new constitution, people are back on the streets. reporters are awaiting a press code.
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subversive media outlets are cut off streams and journalist are facing trials. the battle lines are still red there are some news outlets trying to get past the red lives and the taboos. we mentioned the french language site launched and some of the stories it has broken. it has also been running an ongoing investigation into government internet surveillance of citizens. aside from subscriptions, it says it has financial backing to the tune of $750,000 from various investors who have collaborated with them on his media ventures. then there is a french language weekly magazine founded in 120-- 2010. he has been pressured by the government. in 2009 it disappeared from the news stand after republished an
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opinion poll in the first 10 years of the king's reign. he started anothered ignores in 2010, but it went out of business after the government leaned on companies to withdraw their advertising. we touched on the arabic language news site which was founded in 2010 and made its name by publishing stories about the cost of maintaining the royal family and on the king's habit of taking long vacations. in was blocked in 2014 and it relaunched last year which as of this writing is still accessible online in morocco. jazeera amer.
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finally, we saw once again this past week in the coverage of the bombings in brussels what an essential component twitter has become in the world of journalism. as it happens, this week also marked the 10th anniversary of the very first tweet which read
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just setting up my twitter. it was sent out by co founder. by his own admission, even he wasn't sure exactly what it was that he was sending out, what twitter would become. it boasts 320 million active users and more than a billion unique visits per month. for a service that only allows for 140 characters per tweet it has broken big stories. the one in pakistan for example when an it worker unwittingly tweeted about the u.s. military raid that killed bin laden. also bringing back our girls in nigeria and black lives matter. we leave you with a compilation with some of the important tweets of the past decade and we listening post."
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